What were the first thoughts that crossed your mind when you realized you were going to be a single mother? Did you imagine a room full of women with kids in a loud, over-packed waiting room at the welfare office? Was it standing in line at the grocery check out stand with all of these prude and judgmental eyes watching you hand over your government benefits card or food stamps? Was it in a run down apartment in the slums of a city with sirens and gun shots being your ever present sound machine?
Okay, that got a little extreme. But you got my point. Very few people imagine a happy, prosperous life as a single mother, much less one that allows them to travel and do most everything else they thought they wanted to accomplish in life. So why would anyone choose to be a single mom?
Ladies, you are most likely a single mom by happenstance (like me) because of the death of the father or by the failure of the father to step up and take care of his responsibilities (or otherwise prove to be a suitable life partner). But did you know there is a group of women out there who chose to adopt or to have children by in vitro fertilization?
Talk about taking it by the horns.
I decided to do some searches online for single mom groups and my search led me to a website called, Single Mothers by Choice. (For the sake of shortening the term, I will be referring to these women as SMBC.) From the brief time I spent reading articles on it, it is mostly made up of women in their mid-to-late 30s and early 40s who decided that they were done waiting on a man to show up for them to fulfill their dreams of being mothers. So instead they paid to be medically inseminated (in vitro) or went the route of adoption.
A big difference in these women and the majority of women who wind up pregnant by happenstance is that they (SMBCs) are more financially stable (due to years in the workforce) and potentially has a higher education status. I haven’t done any research to find the statistical proof in this supposition of mine, but from the articles I was reading, they were all fairly stable and highly educated. (“Fairly stable” simply means they were as financially prepared to take on the role of motherhood as anyone could be without any prior experience or knowledge of the actual cost.)
Some of us were left dealing with the stigma of being a single mother by means out of our control. We got handed the stigma and all that pertains to it because someone couldn’t get past themselves to see the value of their children and a life with us
SMBC’s chose the life of motherhood as single women and didn’t care. They balk at anyone that tries to tell them they shouldn’t and they do it. They are purposefully challenging the stigma around being a single mother and raising children without a father.
I do not intend to paint them in any more of a heroic stance than a woman who winds up a single mother by happenstance and chooses to be there for her kids and do her best. I am mainly trying to explain how there are single mothers out there challenging the image of the single mother from a different vantage point.
But what if we quit thinking of ourselves as single mothers by happenstance and replaced it with that of being a mother by choice who happens to be single? Did we plan or choose to get pregnant at that time? Maybe not, but we chose to rise to the challenge of motherhood despite the stigma and struggles we could feel looming ahead of us. We get up every day and feed our children, bathe them, change their diapers, clothe them, do their laundry, kiss their boo boos, and a whole slew of other tasks for them with no one there to help carry the burden.
It’s the single part that we didn’t count on. But we don’t let it sway us. We are women. And we are strong. We are resourceful, crafty, intelligent, brave, beautiful, and not afraid of a challenge. Parenthood is a challenge. We own it singlehandedly.
There are going to be times where it still seems dark and hard as your trudging through the mud of life and being the sole disciplinarian. The kids will get sick, you will get sick, and there will be no one else to help carry the burden.
But you are the only one standing in your way of accomplishing your goals. You can work on your personal issues. You can’t control another human being’s actions, likes, and choices. And if you can find a band of single mothers to unwind and relate to, you really have an amazing opportunity in life.
And that is where I hope to come in and help out. Not only do I hope you find helpful tips and encouragement in my posts, I hope to create a band of single mothers who can share openly with each other. You could join the Single Mothers by Choice membership, but it costs money. I will never charge you to find a community of single moms. Here there is no judgment.
You will find a lot of religious based talk from me. You may not share the same beliefs and think you can’t fit in. I encourage you not to let that hold you back from joining my band of gypsy mothers. Even in the universities today the Bible is taught as literature. I will not force you to believe the same things I do, but I do believe that even those who don’t believe in God, in Jesus, and life after death can still find encouragement and hope in its pages.
Being a single mom doesn’t have to come with the negative stigma! Find a community. Develop a plan. Write out your goals for yourself as well as for your kids. What does it look like to you?
Furthermore, don’t shy away from introducing yourself as a single mom. You could be the reason why someone changes how they view single moms if they see your confidence. And you never know when you may be talking to a new single mom struggling with the idea. Maybe introduce her to your band of gypsy mothers?
Join my band of gypsy mothers!
I’ve talked about it before. Join my band of gypsy mothers by subscribing to my (once a week) newsletter! Lets build a community of single moms and start a movement. Today is International Women’s Day. What a better day than today to make a change in the way single moms view themselves and are seen by others?